- Business models of companies can be used more and more to create social impact.
- That is why BCorp Twente was founded. A quality label for entrepreneurs who, in addition to profit, also take people, the environment and society as a starting point, and therefore have a meaningful business.
- SKO is one of BCorp Twente’s participants, and they give shape to meaningful entrepreneurship by using the BCorp-standard, among other things.
Consistent work on SKO’s mission and various developments have led to a new business model. Besides wanting to improve the productivity and well-being of the employees, SKO also focuses on themes varying from social return and sustainability of materials to buying green energy. Ruud’s experience is that you build up credibility precisely by discussing these issues with both employees and customers. “BCorp is a tool that we can apply to connect the various initiatives we develop. You don’t zoom in on one specific part, as you do with the CO2 performance ladder, for example. On the contrary; working with BCorp’s system “forces” you to have a broader view. This makes us even more aware of our actions, and we can connect this with the DNA of our clients and thus develop a shared language with them. A language that goes beyond the price of, for example, an office chair: it completely unburdens them from questions related to the working environment.”
Ruud recognises that further developing SKO’s vision is a process that requires continuous attention. This means that, on the one hand, they have to participate in a world that is dominated by a classic look at purchase prices. On the other hand, he also notices that there are more and more clients that want to give shape to their ambitions in the field of healthy employees, circularity and sustainable entrepreneurship, together with SKO. It is therefore not without reason that SKO is responsible for the circular design of the municipality of Enschede and that they are a partner to organisations such as the Friesland Safety Region, the province of Utrecht and, more recently, ASML.
Ruud had his first experience with BCorp while working at “Dutch”, a certified BCorp company. “It was quite cryptic and vague to me back then”, Ruud says with a laugh, but he observes that it did stimulate him. “We came into contact with the social return aspect through an assignment in 2014/2015, and it turned out that we were already working with this quite a lot. We weren’t fully aware of this. We developed all kinds of initiatives in the years that followed, such as our own “Duurzaamheidsstraat” (Sustainability Street). We also became the main sponsor for the Dutch wheelchair basketball players and set up the Sitness platform. And now we are working with the BCorp initiative once again.”
BCorp Twente is an initiative by Saxion Conscious Business Lab and Eshuis Accountants and Advisors. Agenda for Twente also made a contribution, which helped make it possible. Twelve organisations are part of this initiative, including SKO. “Working together as companies from Twente makes it easy to look at how others work. Benchmarking is also a part of the BCorp standard. The digital
environment shows us how other companies, both in the Netherlands and worldwide, interpret meaningful entrepreneurship.”
“It simply leads to business”, Ruud observes earnestly. Based on his recent experiences, he says it is not cryptic and vague after all. “We are constantly working on solutions for various issues. These are all in line with our mission, which is based on sustainability, circularity and multiform social value. These issues range from purchasing interior based on use to the development of new business models. The BCorp standard has proven to be helpful for that as well because you tackle the various issues systematically and integrally, and you can see examples from other organisations.”
SKO wants to use the BCorp standard to look for depth into the world of meaningful entrepreneurship in the coming period. “The system helps us with this; it is accessible and offers possibilities for self-analysis without having certification as a primary goal.”
“Feel free to visit us”, is Ruud’s final invitation. “I would love to show organisations in Twente (and outside) how the SKO gives a practical interpretation to meaningful entrepreneurship. You gain practical ideas precisely by talking to each other!”
BCorp Twente is a quality label for entrepreneurs that assesses corporate social responsibility. There are over 2,750 “Benefit Corporations” worldwide, located in over 50 countries and spread over more than 130 industries. Saxion Conscious Business Lab and Eshuis Accountants and Advisors are focused on supporting entrepreneurs in Twente, who want to give more meaning to their business in a circular way, focused on people and society. These entrepreneurs created BCorp Twente.